GERMANY – The number of mergers and acquisitions among small German funds will increase in 2003, says Axel-Guenter Benkner, chairman of the German investment fund body BVI Bundesverband Investment und Asset Management.

In an interview with German financial daily Boersen-Zeitung, Benkner, who is also chairman of Germany’s largest fund group, DWS, said he expected more fund companies, especially those with a market share of less than 3%, to be up for sale this year.

But Benkner does not foresee mergers between Germany’s six largest fund companies as that would have implications under German anti-trust law.

The six largest German fund managers are: DWS-Group, Deka-Group, ADAM-Group, Union-Group, Adig-Group, and the Activest-Group.

No mergers or acquisitions are currently in the pipeline.